A Second Christmas Story (Part 4): The Long Trip
Hello again everyone. I am trying to get this story posted a little bit quicker than the last one. This experience is about the ride that I took down to my grandparents in Pennsylvania. It isn't as unique as some of the other experiences that I have posted on my site. But, it still was a fun little expense. So, I am going to go ahead and post it. Enjoy.
We had just finished the lunch that my mother made us before the trip and it was time to finish up getting ready to go for the trip. My two brothers had already changed for the long ride down and were finishing up their packing. My mother was doing the lunch spent the last of her time doing the lunch dishes and making sure that everything was turned off and the house was ready for our week away from home. Our neighbor would be taking care of our dog while we were out and would be in from time to time to get the mail and check on the house as a whole. But we wanted to make sure that nothing would cause any real problems. So, it was important for her to make sure that everything was off. My father spent most of his time finishing packing the van with all of the gifts and luggage for the trip. Mary was making sure that Amy was ready to go and helping my parents intermittently with their tasks. I was the only member of my family still in my pj's at the moment I also needed to get ready to go for the ride down.
"Jennifer, make sure that you are ready to go for the trip. I want to leave before one and you still need to get your last two bags ready to go. Also, make sure you dress warmly, it is pretty cold out and that wind will cut right through you." My mother denoted giving me her last set of instructions before going about her duties. I nodded and head down the hallway toward my room to finish my preparations for the trip. I wasn't the only one who still had stuff to pack, but I still needed to get a move on. I headed down to my room and opened the door slowly with a quiet creak. The room was empty and dark from the way I had left it earlier that morning. I stepped through the doorway and flicked the light switch into the on position and closed the door behind me. Amy was absent at the moment and I intended to use the privacy to finish packing and change for the trip. It would be a simple task to complete, as long as I stayed organized and on point.
The first order of business was to finish packing my main bag for the trip. The large duffle bag was sitting half full on the bedroom floor waiting for me to finish packing. I walked over and looked down examining it's contents. The majority of my stuff was already packed, I just needed to add a few last minute items to the bag and I would be ready. Most of my clothes were already packed in my other bag that was already in the car. This was mostly my personal stuff for fun and a few other items. I started with the new present that my parents had given me a few hours earlier. I folded the canvas straight jacket up and laid it in the bag. I had been tempted to try it on a few times since I had gotten it, but my current time limit wouldn't allow it. There would be time to try it out later at my Grandparentâ€™s house. After it was in the bag, I added a few more accessories, my handcuffs, some ropes and a few other items for tugs that might happen at one of these family gatherings. Then, I came to the issue of the new mittens that my mother had gotten me.
I was debating whether I wanted to pack them or wear them on the ride down. I considered the issue for a moment or two and then I decided to table it for the time being. I set them down on the floor next to the bag to make my decision on the matter later. Next, I hiked over to the bed and undid the connector strap that held the mount for my vest to the bed. I coiled it up and loaded it into the bag along with the wrist straps. I was planning on using the vest for the ride down with another seat mount in the van, so I left it on the floor next to my mittens for future use. Finally, I decided to shed my teddy bear slippers and pack them in the bag. The cold on the floor hit my feet almost instantly, but I would be glad to have them for the week ahead. With the majority of my main bag packed, I moved onto the issue of my smaller travel bag that I was going to take with me in the car. In reality, it was really a carrying pouch for my game boy and games, but it had an extra compartment or two for a few other amenities. I sifted through their contents and made sure that I had extra batteries and my power pack before I sealed it up and laid it overtop of the bigger bag.
With my packing job complete, I decided to move onto the issue of getting dressed for the trip down. First, however I headed down the hallway to use the bathroom one last time before we left. It was a long trip and we didn't make too many pit stops along the way. I picked a good time to arrive, I came in-between my brothers who were each taking a quick shower before leaving. I had mine the night before. I did my business and brushed my teeth quickly before exiting the room so Sean could have the bathroom. With that complete, I returned to my room to gather my things. I lifted the larger bag up over my shoulder and picked up the game boy case in my hand. Then, I headed down toward the garage to give my father the bag. The trip down the hallway to the garage was a short one despite the heavy load. Upon my arrival, I opened the garage door and entered it. My father was standing there waiting for me dressed in his winter coat and a heavy pair of winter gloves with a knit hat on his head.
It only took a second for the cold to hit me very hard. Even within the garage out of the wind it was almost unbearable for current outfit. My dad looked over at me from the sound of the door opening. "Hey Jen, you look like your all packed. Did the kitchen sink fit in your bag?" He said with a little chuckle looking at the large bundle over my shoulder. I drew my arms up to my chest and shivered slightly as I approached him and nodded. "I think I have it all where do you want me to put it?" My father answered by taking the heavy bag off of my shoulder and placing it in the back of the crowded van. Then he took the game boy pouch from me and set it in the back seat where I would be sitting. "You really should get back inside Jen, it's too cold out here to be in pajamas. Go bundle up and get ready to go we're leaving soon. " I told him that I would and retreated back into the house from the garage.
Almost instantly, I noticed the difference in temperature between the two areas. Our house was usually cold in the winter because of it's age. But, it was nothing compared to outside. I decided to head back to my room and put something a little warmer on for the trip. As I walked down the hallway, I passed Mary who was being tailed by my little sister. Mary was carrying her bag and Amy was following with the small travel bag for the car. Mary was wearing blue jeans and her winter coat. Amy followed close behind in a little purple snowsuit with mittens and a winter hat. She was also wearing a warm smile as our eyes met as we past each other. I walked pass them silently and continued back to my room to get ready to go. I arrived and entered closing the door tight behind me and locking it in place. Privacy was hard to come by in a house of 7 people and I wanted it at the moment.
I hiked over to my dresser and opened the top drawer so that I could decided what I wanted to where on the trip down in the van. I looked through my options trying to chooses something that would be both warm and comfortable to wear. Quite a few of my warmer outfits had already been packed, so my selection was somewhat limited. I deiced that a few layers would be best and went about choosing an outfit. I started out with a pink sweat suit. It was made of warm fleece and had ribbed cuffs, ankles and a ribbed neckline. I shed my pajamas and put on a white t-shirt. Then, I put the sweat suit on overtop of it. Next, I added two pairs of socks a cotton one to start with and a set of wool ones overtop of them. Once my base layer was set, I moved onto my second layer. I began with a green set of overalls. They were made of blue jean material and had the normal double shoulder straps that attached to a bib in the front. Finally, I grabbed a blue turtle neck sweater from my closet and pulled it on over my head. It came down to my waist covering the upper half of my body. The neck cuff came all the way up to an inch below my chin. Overall, I was comfortably dressed against the cold that laid ahead. The outfit was a little bulky, but more than livable.
Satisfied with my inner layers, I decided to move onto the outer layer for the ride down. This is where I came to a problem. When I began looking around the room, I realized that I had packed my good winter coat for the trip in my original duffle bag. It was probably buried underneath the pile my father had spent the last hour putting the car. I opened my closet door and started looking around for an alternative to my main coat. Unfortunately, I really didn't find anything that would be warm enough and still fit me. I had a couple of my coats from when I was younger, but I had outgrown them and they would be too tight with my current outfit. The warmest thing that I had left was really only a spring jacket not suitable for the weather at hand. I abandoned my current search because there was nothing to find. I head back down the hallway and headed for the hall closet in the living room. When I arrived, I opened it and began to rummage through it looking for a winter coat to wear in the car. My family almost never threw old clothes away. If it was still wearable, it was kept for a hand-me-down to the next kid to save on costs. I was looking for one of either Sean or Scott's old coats that might fit me.
A few minutes into my search, Sean came into the room and walked over to where I was rummaging. "Hey sis, what are you looking for in that mess?" He asked. My brother was right, the closet was a pretty disorganized pile. I took a moment and explained my problem to my older brother and asked if he had any ideas. He agreed that it wasn't practical to make my dad unpack half the car, and the two of us set about discussing a solution. After a few minutes of thought, Sean spoke up with a possible idea. "Jennifer, I may have just the thing if you want. Follow me." With that Sean took up the lead as I followed him across the living room and kitchen back to the main hallway in our house. The two of us walked down the until we arrived at his room where my brother opened the door and invited me in. He bid me to wait by the door while he went over to the closet and began to do a little rummaging of his own. I stood back and watched wondering what he had in mind. Sean and I had always been close as siblings, and he always seemed to have an answer for when I had a problem. This time was no exception.
After a few minutes, Sean located what he was looking for and pulled it from the closet. "Here you go Jennifer, maybe this will fit you. It's a little old, but it's very warm. I used to use it on winter campouts all the time before I outgrew it." Sean passed me the hanger with the old green snowsuit on it. It hung there in front of me a little disheveled from storage. It had been quite a while since either Sean or I had worn a snowsuit to tell the truth of the matter. I had a set of ski pants that I wore outside from time to time, but I hadn't been in a one piece one since I was 11. Still, it was better than nothing and my options were rather limited at this point. Reluctantly, I decided to try it on. I undid the zipper that went down to the waist and started by sliding my legs into the pant portion of the snowsuit. The ankles ended in an elastic type cuffs that drew the pant tight to the ankle. There was also an elastic type band that ran across the bottom of the foot from one site of the pant leg to the other. Sean explained to me that they were to keep the pant from riding up in boots when the wearer was active.
With my legs in place, I began sliding my arms into the sleeves and pulled the upper part of it around the top half of my body. The sleeves ended in an elastic cuff about an inch and half across to seal the wrists from snow. They could be snugged down with a little more by tightening a Velcro flap around them. With my arms in place, I decided to finish by zipping up the main zipper and closing it all the way. I pulled on the heavy zipper and drew it all the way up. It came to a stop on the top of the collar just below my chin. Sean helped me finish up by fastening the remaining items. There was also a set of snaps that closed over the zipper to keep snow out and a belt that could be drawn tighter at the waist to snug it up a little. With everything minus the hood in place, Sean stepped back and looked me over. "Try moving around a little Jen and let me know what you think." Overall, the snowsuit would have normally been a little big on me, but with my two lower layers, it fit me surprisingly well. I tried walking around and moved my arms up and down a little bit trying get a feel for it.
The snowsuit was a little heavier than what I was used to wearing outside. Sean explained that it was meant for colder weather and that the extra bulk would really keep me warm. I could move around okay and I was already starting to feel quite a bit warmer bundled up like this. "It's not too bad. I think I may just go ahead with this if it's okay with you." I had to admit for all my reservations, it was a comfortable fit, a little bulky, but comfortable. "Good, I am glad that someone can get some use out of it. I really am sad that I outgrew it, it was one of the warmer outfits that I had for camping." I asked Sean in he could help me finish getting ready to go and he said that he had some time to kill anyway. The two of us left my brother's room and headed back down the hallway to mine. It was a short trip and the two of us entered when we arrived. Even with the core of my body now warm, I still had to deal with my extremities. I started by adding a pair of winter boots overtop of the snow pants I was wearing. They came up a little past my ankle and were white in color.
With my feet all set, I began getting my head ready for the long trip down. I started out with a set of white ear muffs. Then, I followed it with a blue knit hat that I covered the top of my head with. Next, I took a wool scarf that was about 4 feet in length and began to untangle it. I wrapped it around my lower face covering my mouth twice before I knotted it off loosely in the back. Finally, I pulled the hood up overtop of everything and tied the cords in a little bow to snug it down. Sean just stood back and laughed. "Got enough stuff on Jen? We wouldn't want you to catch cold now would we." I smiled back, not that he could see it through the scarf and laugh back. I explained that I would rather be warm than sorry. Sean nodded, "Do you want to wear your new mittens in the car." He asked looking down at them on the floor of the room. I had been debating that very question in the back of my mind for the past 45 minutes. "No, I want to play my game boy in the car and they might make it a little difficult to do that." I explained.
Sean concurred with my wisdom after seeing my performance earlier that morning. I picked them up and pocketed them in case I changed my mind later. Instead, I settled on a pair of light green fleece normal mittens that I wore often during the winter. They wouldn't be as warm, but they left me enough dexterity to play video games if I wanted to. Sean helped me adjust the cuffs on the snow suit over them once I had dawned them. After, I was finally finished getting dressed, Sean picked up my vest harness from the floor and helped me put it on. It was a snug fit overtop of the snowsuit, and my brother had to use the lager of the two expanders, but it fit none the less. Finally, he helped me pull the leg strap into place and buckled it. Then, the two of us headed outside to the garage and the van. We entered the garage just as my father was closing down the rear door of the van making his final preparations to leave. He commented that I looked a little warmer than our first encounter. The two of us waked over to the left sliding door of the car and entered the vehicle.
Mary was already seated on the right side in the middle row of seating in the car. Amy was seated in her car seat on the bench seat behind Mary. She was all strapped in and ready to go. Sean escorted me to the center of the back seat of the car where my father had secured the seat mount for the harness I was wearing. I seated myself in the middle of the seat and Sean clipped the four connector clips onto the vests D rings to secure me to the seat. He also took the middle lap belt and fastened it before snugging it down overtop of my hips. Finally, he helped me get my game boy out of the small travel case before he left me to my own devices. "There your all set Jennifer, nice warm, safe and sound." He commented before he moved forward to the middle seat where he would be sitting. Sean seated himself and pulled a pair of mittens out of his pockets and donned them before buckling his seat belt. Finally, he put on a set of head phones and started hid cd player up. I looked over at Amy who was sitting next to me. The two of us looked like a matched set except that she wasn't wearing a scarf and the color of the snowsuits. I then shifted my attention to the game in front of me and Amy turned her head to watch.
It wasn't long before Scott and my parents came out of the house after making the final checks. My parents boarded the car and took the front two seats. My father was driving. Scott sat down next to me in the back and buckled in before switching his own game boy on. It was going to be a long ride. But it was also going to be an exciting one to say the least. My father started the car and pulled forwards out of the garage and onto the street. Our long journey began with the first few miles behind us in no time. Scott and I concentrated on our games while Mary and my parents talked to pass the time. It was going to take several long hours to get there, but it was well worth the trip that we usually only made twice a year.
I guess I should mention that I was the only member of my family in a harness in the car at the moment. Except for Amy of course. Sean, Scott and Mary were just using normal seat belts. Sean and Scott had stopped using their vests more than a year ago. I was more than big enough to just use a normal seat belt as well. But, I still liked my vest harness for a couple of reasons. First, it kind of reminded me or being tied up and kept my movements better restricted than a normal seat belt. Secondly, I also felt a lot safer with it on in the car or school bus. It really didn't matter to my parents either way. So, as long as I was happy with it, they were content to let me wear it. It really wasn't a big deal. I shifted around in the seat on and off trying to get a little more comfortable and trying to catch a little bit of more light for my game boy. It was tough to get the right angle seated in the middle in the back. Usually, Scott sat in the middle with Sean, but Mary's addition had forced him to the back seat. Being older, he got the window seat and my mother really didn't want to have to move Amy's car seat around. So, I decided not to press the issue further. It really didn't bother me that much anyway.
I forget what I was playing as we pulled slowly out of the driveway and headed down the road towards our distant destination. I liked RPG when I was a kid and it was probably one of those, but I don't remember for sure. The trip began and for the first hour or two, I was content to game away as was my brother Scott. Amy looked out the window mostly, but she did look over my shoulder from time to time checking out what I was doing. She was fascinated by video games at that age. We let her try to play from time to time, but she lacked the reading skills and the hand eye coordination for it at the moment. My parents and older siblings talked all the way down. I was too engrossed in what I was doing to really pay much attention to what they were saying, but that was fine.
After a while, the car started to warm up from the heater and I began to notice how warmly I was dressed. I wasn't to the point where I was uncomfortable, it was still cold out. But, I was a little over bundled up for the trip. I paused my game and set it in my lap. Then, I pulled the mittens I was wearing off my hands and slipped them into my pocket. I was glad to regain some dexterity and reached up to untie the bow securing my hood in place. Next, I slid it back and pulled the scarf down from my mouth and lowered it to around my neck. It became easier to breath and I began to cool down a little bit. The snowsuit was a little warmer than I had bargained for, but it was comfortable for the day at hand. I picked my game back up and continued where I left off for a little while longer. An hour or two passed as I played and I was starting to get a little further along in the game. However, later afternoon was sitting in and it was getting harder and harder to see the game boy in the fading sunlight. After a while, it became impossible to play, so I switched it off and returned it to it's case.
"How long until we get there?", I finally worked up the nerve to ask the question. I was starting to get bored after a few minutes without my game and there really wasn't all that much to do strapped in the middle of the seat. "A couple of hours yet Jen, we'll be there soon enough, but we still have a ways to go." My father responded as he continued to drive forward. I leaned back in my seat and looked around the crowded van for something to occupy my mind. Scott was looking out the window at the passing scenery in the fading light. Amy was slumped over to her right side fast asleep in her car seat. She tended to sleep on longer car rides. I was too far away from the window to have a good view and the harness vest kept me rooted directly where I was without much chance of being able to move around. After a few minutes of consideration, I decided to follow my little sister's lead and catch a quick nap before we arrived. We were going to be up late for a later evening meal and a short rest would help me be refreshed when we arrived.
I reached behind me and drew my hood back up loosely around my head. I didn't want to catch cold while I was sleeping, so I decided to put it back up. I left it untied though mostly for comfort and to make sure that I didn't overheat. I left my scarf where it was, hanging loosely around my neck. Also, I decided to pull the mittens back out of my pocket and slide them back over my hands. They were getting a little cold anyway, and the warmth would be welcome for the sleep. However, when I opened pocket, I chose the wrong one by mistake and pulled out the thumbless ones that my mother had gotten me earlier. I slipped them back into my pocket and pulled out the normal ones that I had brought with me and pulled them on. Then I leaned off to the side and put my head down on my shoulder and tried to sleep.
My eyes closed easily enough, but rest didn't come at once. My mind was racing in several directions with different ideas and the excitement of seeing my grandparents. But, it came back several times to the idea of the other pair of mittens in my pocket. I was tempted to put them on, but I wasn't sure if I wanted my hands to become so useless for the rest of the ride down. However, I got tired of thinking about it after some time and sat back up. I unsnapped the pocket on the snowsuit and fished them out of it. I set them on my lap and stared down at the two of them debating whether or not to put them on. In the end, temptation won out and I picked up the right one and slid it on overtop of the fleece mittens that I was wearing. I drew up the Velcro strap tight and began the process of snugging the wrist cuff of the snow suit down over it. I had to use my mouth to do it, but I succeeded. However, donning the left one proved to be much more difficult.
I tried a couple of times to do it unsuccessfully. I could get a hold of it with either my right hand or my mouth, but I couldn't move it into place, it was just too difficult to do with my fingers pinned. Then, I looked over at my older brother who was sitting just to my left. "Scott, could you help me? I am trying to slide these on and I am having a hard time of it." Scott looked over at me as I gazed down at the remaining glove and looked back up at me. He told me that he would be happy to help and set about obliging my request. It only took him a minute and my hands were secured in the warm little pouches cutting off my ability to use my hands for anything meaningful. They were a little warm under the circumstances, but they made me feel more restricted and comfortable. I looked down at my hands for a minute or two before I folded them on my lap. Then, I leaned my head back onto my side and closed my eyes. It wasn't long before I fell asleep.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
When my eyes opened again, it was dark in the car. We were still a ways off from our destination, but I hadn't come to voluntarily. It was a reaction from my body more than anything else. Something was working it's way into my mouth from behind. Instinctively, I tried to spit it out, but it was already too late. Scott was already drawing the sock snuggly behind my head forcing it's center into my mouth. He pulled it tight and began to knot it off making an effective gag out of it. Inside of the sock there was a little rubber ball a little more than an inch in diameter. It was a larger version of one of those bounce balls that you could easily find at any toy shop. We had learned over a year ago that if it was held in place it could make a very effective gag on the person. We usually wrapped it inside a sock so there wouldn't be any chance of swallowing it. I winced into it as my brother drew it tight behind my head and finished tying it off.
"Sorry to wake you Jennifer, I just thought that you might want to be a little more comfortable for your nap." My brother whispered quietly next to me. I sat up and looked forward. Sean and Mary had followed my lead and were asleep where they sat. Scott reached down to and began to unfold my scarf from around my neck. "I don't want you to catch cold." My brother unfolded it so that it was just one layer thick and wrapped it around my lower face concealing the gag. He tied it off snuggly behind my head making sure not to cover my nose with it. Then, he pulled my hood back up and tied the drawstring into a snug little bow. "Have a good nap little sister." He commented with a snicker before he turned away and left me to my predicament.
I tried to work the gag loose, but with the scarf overtop of it spitting it out was out of the question. I gave my arms a few good tugs to confirm what I already knew about my situation. My hands had been crossed and bound quite securely behind my back at the wrist. Scott must had tied me while I was asleep and he had done a pretty good job. I felt around looking for the knot, which proved to be an impossible effort give the double mittens I was wearing. I shouted into the gag, but my speech was too muffled and quiet to attract the attention of my parents or sleeping siblings. Other than Scott, no one knew about my predicament, and he wasn't going to help me out of this one. I should have known better than falling asleep next to him. So, I just sat back and began on the complicated process of trying to free myself.
I twisted and squirmed against my ropes trying to wriggle free. However, the vest harness held me securely in place and made it difficult to observe my situation. The ropes were well tied and offered no slack from my efforts. I was stuck and stuck good. The mittens on my hands compounded the situation. They rendered my fingers useless and made it impossible to search for the knots. Heck, even if I managed to free my hands I doubted that I would be able to get the gag off without help. They really were difficult to use your fingers in. I struggled for a few more minutes and then I just sat back and gave up. The situation was absolutely hopeless. Scott had me tied up very securely. I wasn't getting free without his help and he wasn't in any hurry to offer it.
I sat back and relaxed my efforts. There was no point in getting hot from all this struggling. I looked over and out the window at the dark landscape behind us. We were still on the highway which, meant we had a ways to go yet. I began to ponder my predicament hopeless as it was. To tell the truth of the matter, it wasn't an unwelcome situation. I was bored and being tied up was something to do. I was even starting to enjoy it a little. Still, I would have preferred a little warning on the matter and the gag was not a welcome addition to say the least. But, being caught off guard was a new twist to say the least. Scott still knew how to surprise me after all the games we played growing up. I looked over at my brother who was trying his best to ignore me. I could tell he was enjoying this too. There really wasn't anything that I could do about it at present, so I sat back and enjoyed the ride.
After about half an hour and some muffled grunts, Scott reached over and undid the gag to see how I was doing. He warned me to keep my voice down or he would put it back in immediately. I told him that I was doing alright and that it had been fun. But a little notice would have been nice. My brother apologized and told me he thought I would like the little surprise, which I had to admit I had. The remainder of the trip took a little over another hour. Scott offered to untie me if I wanted him to, but I decided to stay like I was. It had been an interesting day of TUGS to say the least, and it wasn't over yet. I spent the rest of the ride with my hands behind my back in the ropes. However, the day wasn't over yet and there was still one more surprise to come. But that will have to wait until next time.
Sorry that took so long to get going, but I wanted to fill in all the background details. It was another fun little experience. I got a chance to get even with Scott later that night. But, I will save that for my next part. Let me know what you think if you have a moment. Take care all.